|WASHINGTON (AP) Edward Latimer "Ned" Beach, the United States Navy captain whose 1960 record for circumnavigating the globe submerged in a submarine still stands and who wrote the best-selling undersea thriller "Run Silent, Run Deep," died early Sunday morning at the age of 84. Beach, who was suffering from cancer, died at his Washington, D.C., home, said Edward Beach III, his son.
The elder Beach was born in Palo Alto, California, in 1918 to a career naval officer, a captain who had served in actions in the Philippines and the Caribbean. His father tried to dissuade him from the rigors of Navy career, but he persisted and graduated second in his class at the Naval Academy in 1939. He earned 10 decorations for gallantry in World War II, including the Navy Cross, earned for his role in sinking a number of Japanese ships in shallow waters just miles from the enemy coast.
He later recalled saying goodbye to the crew of the USS Trigger in May 1944, where he had served as the second-in-command, upon his being transferred to another submarine. "What I didn't realize was that we were splitting those who were going to live from those who were going to die," he said. The Japanese sunk the Trigger in March 1945 and all aboard died. The drama of the cramped quarters of a submarine at war was the basis for his best-selling 1955 novel, "Run Silent, Run Deep," about a clash between a revenge-obsessed captain and his crew. He wrote it while serving as naval aide to President Eisenhower.
Asked once how he had time to write the book, he said: "Instead of playing golf or going to a lot of parties, I would come home after hours at the White House, sit in my living room with a clipboard and write." His father also wrote novels while in active service as a career naval officer.
The novel was made into a popular 1958 movie starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster, but Beach didn't like its melodrama. "It's not true to the Navy that I saw and tried to describe," he told All Hands, a Navy periodical, in 1999. He became the author of 11 other best-selling books.
In 1960, he commanded the USS Triton, a nuclear-powered submarine that circumnavigated the globe underwater in 84 days, a record which still stands. His account of the voyage, "Around The World Submerged," was published in 1962. He said it was tougher to endure a 24-hour depth charging at the hands of the Japanese.
He retired in 1966 and turned his pen to sometimes sharp critiques of his former employer. In his 1995 book, "Scapegoats ! A Defense of Kimmel and Short at Pearl Harbor," Beach made the case
Beach blamed Pentagon officials in Washington for failing to transmit accurate war warnings in time. Beach will be buried in Annapolis, Maryland, directly across the street from Beach Hall, headquarters of the Naval Institute Press. The building was dedicated in tribute to both Captains Beach, father and son, in 1999.
Beach is survived by his wife, Ingrid, a sister, two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren.
Among his numerous military decorations, he was the recipient of the following:
Special to www.historicalmilitaria.com 15 December 2002